BSO launches app to help report possible school threats

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The Broward Sheriff’s Office has unveiled a new mobile app to help safeguard schools.

On Tuesday morning, BSO introduced the SaferWatch App. This app gives Broward County students, parents and school staff a way to send texts, photos, videos and audio tips about possible school threats in real time.

SaferWatch also tracks the GPS location of the user.

Sheriff Scott Israel said 95 percent of kids have access to a smartphone, which is part of the reason why the free app was designed.

“This is going to allow them to communicate with the Broward Sheriff’s Office,” said Israel. “They can remain anonymous, they don’t have to be afraid and they can communicate on non-emergency calls. SaferWatch does not take the place of the 911 call. It’s about calls like bullying, information about what another child might be posting.”

Things like arson, assault and animal abuse also falls under the category of non-emergency, which can be reported through the app.

“Shortly after deployment, we received a tip for a student that needed help, and we were able to make contact with the school resource officer, with school officials and with social services to provide that child assistance,” said BSO Maj. John Appell.

The app is free for all students and parents. Parents can add their child’s school to get updates on emergency situations.

Geno Roefaro, the president of SaferWatchapp.com, said the app has gained a lot of traffic so far.

“We’ve already gotten over 1,000 users,” Roefaro said. “Multiple tips have come in. We average about one tip per day. They’ve actually already sent out an emergency alert as well during a lockdown.”

For more information on SaferWatch, click here.

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